Overcooking food isn’t the end of the world but when you’ve got people round for dinner, or have just been really looking forward to a particular dish for days, it can feel like the planet is in fact, imploding. It only takes a couple of minutes being distracted by your phone, or cooking something for just a few extra minutes in fear of food poisoning for the meal to become a shambles. We’ve all been there.
In this blog post, I’m sharing three of the most common reasons people tend to overcook their food, fresh from the mouths of some experts, so that when you’re next entertaining (yourself or others) you can avoid serving up a plate of cinders.
Cooking on too high a heat
“This is definitely the most common problem as so many of us instantly cook on high heat. Some meals require a really hot pan to cook things, but most don’t. If your pans are turned up to the hottest level, things will burn in minutes. The same goes for an oven that’s turned up too high or preheated for too long. The worst thing is, your food will overcook on the outside and still be raw on the inside. As such, there’s no way to salvage anything! My advice is to pay attention to the cooking instructions and don’t go overboard when setting the heat.”
Vision and eyesight problems
“Believe it or not, your bad cooking skills can be put down to problems with your eyesight. There are two main ways this becomes an issue and leads to overcooking. The first relates to the previous point – bad eyesight makes it hard to be precise when setting the temperature. You may think you’re setting the oven to 200, but really it’s on 230 or 250. This makes all the difference when you cook!
Secondly, you may struggle to visually identify when something has cooked. Chicken is a fantastic example – if you have slightly blurred vision, you may not be able to tell when the inside has turned white. So, you keep cooking well past the chicken being cooked! Of course, there’s only one way to solve an issue like this. You can easily visit a website and find glasses with prescription lenses. Once you’ve sorted out your bad eyesight, it will be much easier to notice when things have finished cooking.”
Fear of undercooking (and food poisoning)
“Yes, the reason lots of us overcook food is that we’re scared of undercooking it. This is particularly true when cooking things like scrambled eggs or chicken. We’re worried that the food isn’t cooked, so we keep it going for longer and longer until it overcooks.
Realistically, this problem can only be solved by gaining more knowledge. If you’re cooking steak, learn the telltale signs that show when it is cooked. The same goes for chicken; understand when it is done so you can take it out. All of this information can be found online, then it’s a case of learning it and trusting yourself! One good tip for any meat is to cut into the thickest part of it. This lets you see the inside, so you can check if it’s cooked or not.”